I am feeling shock and awe today. In a good way. What has felt like a wistful impossible dream my whole adult life is actually happening.

I am seeing so many women (and now men too) speaking up about the indignities and suffering they have experienced sexually. It is amazing!  As #MeToo flooded social media with stories of harassment and assault in the last two weeks, the lid may have finally come off our containers of shame and fear. The collective silence and permissiveness about this devastating subject is finally dissolving.

These reported violations make me angry all over again. That women have endured this has made me nauseated and angry since my teenage years. Back then I felt assaults to my personal sovereignty, femininity and sensitivity, and felt no power to stop it. And it continued for 20 years. And I saw it all around me. Then and now. Permission automatically assumed, or given to those in power, who then abused that power. Then in our most intimate social systems, our families, we had perhaps the most searing experiences. My response was tragic and typical. I was a child soprano with a pure voice and as a teen, I lost my ability to sing. My throat closed down totally. There were no words I could find to say what was real for me and nowhere for them be heard.

This has affected so many of us. Our throats are connected to the yoni and the womb. Many women can’t climax, have uterine issues and sexual shut down of various kinds. Our sexual and emotional expression are intricately linked and affect our health and well being.

Twenty years later, after a lot of breathing practice, yoga, chanting, womb clearing and dance, my throat opened up again. Finally. I started to tone and sing when I danced in Tantric Belly Dance Circles. What a joy to feel that freedom of expression again! I felt energy move through my body in new and powerful ways, a newfound joy in my heart and trust of life. Around the same time, I rediscovered creativity through painting too.

Wanting to be heard, seen and felt as a sensitive person, is our birthright as sovereign beings.

Up until recently ‘being heard’ on sensitive issues hardly happened at all except in loving, intimate relationships. I see what many women do today is to ‘masculinize’ themselves as a way of coping with this, as protection and to receive validation in patriarchal culture. Even when we are a ‘success’ as a entrepreneur, an employee, or a mom, this left-brained way of being can leave us feeling shut down to the fun side of life, to singing, to dancing, to love making, to creating and to joy. Re-opening to sensitivity can be painful but is so important for our happiness, integrity and growth in consciousness.

The #metoo movement is just that, the vulnerable re-opening of those sensitive places. The exposure of Harvey Weinstein’s 30 yr legacy of violation is reminder to us of past experiences we had chosen to sweep under the carpet of self focused shame. I have cried and gone into shock reading how painful it has been for some who have lived the victimizing daily. And it became clear that it is easier to do the uncomfortable work of bringing these experiences to light in community. Social media has become that place. It is public (OMG!) but it is in connection that this shame and unhappiness is transmuted. I did post my #metoo, then promptly panicked and reached out for support. And it was there, lots of it. What really thrills me is that the voices that came out early encouraged other voices to do the same, sending the message ‘you don’t have to live with this on your own any more’.

I also love the simple wake up call to our male friends who have rapidly become allies. #Idid and #HowIWillChange are beautiful examples.

‘I have been lucky. I have been lucky that I have only been abducted and shoved into a car once. That I have only been grabbed in the streets once. That I have only had a few strangers push themselves on to me and my body in ways that I did not condone. That I have never been in a situation so violent, I could not recover. I have been lucky. The spectrum of every day abuse that we females endure is vast. And perhaps that is one of our greatest strengths and weaknesses. Is that we endure. Some of us have been trudging for so long, we lost our voice along the way. It’s hard to keep, when the world is constantly trying to tell you where your place is. But we are finding it.
And it may be quiet at first, so do your best to listen carefully.
Now is the time to listen. Now is the time to believe.’

– Nova Han from her wonderful detailed #metoo blog post

Like an army of light…there are many of us who stand arm in arm sending hope and love for healing of us all. We are surrounding ourselves with a world of women dedicating to completely freeing each other, our men and our world, from rape consciousness.

10 days ago…There were 18 million #metoos

I am in wonder of the beauty, the bravery and possibilities for all of us.

Thank you to Tarana Burke for creating and Aylissa Milano for sharing the hashtag #metoo. 

More about what Josie teaches here and her workshops here

Originally published at medium.com